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Climate activists invest in property on beaches they say are disappearing

From Bill and Melinda Gates to climate envoy John Kerry, climate activists have sounded the alarm about how melting ice will soon raise the ocean to levels that swallow the world’s beaches.

But some of the country’s most vocal climate change activists have invested heavily in luxury oceanfront property along beaches they’ve claimed will be underwater one day due to rising sea levels.

Climate activists have long faced charges of hypocrisy from critics who accuse them of lecturing others about making sacrifices for the environment while declining to live by that example themselves. For instance, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were pilloried in the media in 2019 after the two flew on a private jet just days after Prince Harry wrote on social media that “every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference” in protecting the environment.

More recently, Kerry faced criticism for flying on a private jet to Iceland to accept an environmental award. And Kerry is one of several activists who have put millions into homes on the water.

Kerry has warned about rising sea levels in the past; he did so, for example, as secretary of state, painting sea level rise in Virginia as a sign of the larger threat posed by climate change.

Speaking in Indonesia in 2014, he warned Asian nations that they could see their countries destroyed by rising sea levels that, he said, could put entire cities underwater.

He has even mocked people whom he believed to be insufficiently concerned about rising sea levels, saying in 2015: “We have people who still deny this, members of a flat-Earth society that seem to believe that — who seem to believe that ocean rise won’t be a problem because the water will just spill over the edge.”

But Kerry’s concerns did not prevent him from investing considerably in oceanfront property that, by his own accounts, could be underwater in a matter of decades.

Kerry spent $11.75 million in 2017 for a sprawling estate on the beach in Martha’s Vineyard. The property includes more than 18 acres of land on which his seven-bedroom home sits, overlooking the Vineyard Sound.

Bill and Melinda Gates, passionate climate activists, also shelled out a small fortune for a luxury waterfront home.

Last year, the couple, who are presently in the midst of a divorce, paid $43 million for a massive house on the beach in Del Mar, California, near San Diego.